Silly Idea: "Google, Amazon, Microsoft are Threats to Democracy"

-edited

The calls to break up Google, Amazon, Walmart, Facebook, etc, are rising. Let's investigate the claims.

Journalism and Democracy

France Fines Google

Give Amazon Google 5 Years to Bust Up

Walmart Linked to Obesity

Open Markets

Stoller is a fellow at the "Open Markets Institute"

What a hoot. This guy wants anything but "open markets" which realistically ought to mean free markets.

Number of Employees

  • Google: 85,000
  • Apple: 132,000
  • Microsoft: 134,944
  • Walmart: 2.1 million, 1.4 million in the US

These are all successful companies. They exist in the US because they could not exist anywhere else.

France and the EU would bust them up in a heartbeat. For what?

Google

Google is one amazing company. It started out as a search engine company. It now has the best self-driving auto technology in the world.

If the government busted up or severely regulated Google a decade ago as many wanted, we might not have that technology. Google pays its employees very well.

In terms of search engines, if you don't like Google, don't use it. Don't like Chrome? Don't use it.

But do not pretend there is no competition. There is much competition in the space. Google, Microsoft, Firefox all compete. Many places offer email.

If people did not like Google services, they would not use them. I used Firefox for a long time, now I mostly use Chrome. Competition is intense.

Microsoft

The EU surely would have busted up Microsoft years ago in the name of competition. No one would be better off.

There are free open-source competitors to Word and Excel.

Don't like Microsoft? Use something for free.

Amazon

Amazon employs 613,300 workers. Stoller and other moan that Amazon underpays its workers.

Excuse me for pointing out that if people don't want to work for Amazon, they can work somewhere else.

Amazon is a godsend. Tens of millions of people benefit from Amazon, literally every day!

Instead of having to drive all over the place for routine purchases, Amazon will deliver packages for free in 1-2 days with a membership. Those concerned about global warming ought to think about the gas saved with this operation.

Thanks to Fed-sponsored inflation, people need to save every penny they can.

Amazon is also into cloud technology and other things. It very much competes against Google, Microsoft and others. This competition is good, and it forces down prices across the board.

Walmart

Walmart employs an astounding 2.1 million people, 1.4 million of them in the US.

The most common complaint against Walmart is that it does not pay its fair share of taxes. The rationale stems from the fact that many Walmart employees are also on food stamps.

What these complainers miss is that those 2.1 million workers might not have a job at all were it not for Walmart.

Look, Walmart is not Costco. If it was, it would employ about 214,000 workers instead of 2.1 million workers. Instead of complaining, everyone ought to be grateful Walmart employs 2.1 million instead of having another 2.1 million on welfare roles.

Walmart, like Amazon, is a godsend. It provides strong competition.

Everyday Low Prices

Tens of millions of people benefit every day from low prices. If you don't like Walmart, then don't shop there!

But millions of people do like Walmart and proof enough is Walmart's 2.1 million employees.

Fair Share

These companies do not pay their "fare share" is the common complaint.

12% got it correct. At least one person nailed it. The ideal corporate tax rate is precisely zero. On that basis, they all overpay.

Median Salaries

Please note that Facebook, Google and Netflix pay a higher median salary than Exxon, Goldman Sachs or Verizon.

There are 85,000 Google employees making a median wage of $197,274 a year.

All of those people pay income taxes, and in addition to other high-quality benefits, Google contributes to Social Security.

So despite paying "relatively" little corporate income tax, Google contributes mightily to US tax coffers.

Biggest US Corporate Taxpayers

The above chart is from Some Corporations Pay a Lot More Taxes Than Others.

In addition to hiring 1.4 million workers, all of who pay taxes, Walmart direct contributed $6 billion annually to the US government.

Is that over-paying or underpaying? I suggest the former.

Tax rates have dropped, but at least we can see who is paying taxes and who isn't.

Low Prices a Good Thing

Low prices are a good thing. Standards of living rise the cheaper prices get!

Complaints about low prices destroying small businesses are absurd.

Threat to Democracy

The notion that Google, Amazon, Walmart, etc constitute threats to democracy is idiotic.

These companies are products of innovation and ongoing competition. They primarily exist in the US because France, the EU bureaucracy, and socialist fools in general would destroy them everywhere else.

And the irony is these innovation killing ideas come disguised in the name of "Open Markets".

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (23)
No. 1-18
Stuki
Stuki

...And democracy is a threat to freedom. Hence, with a lag, survival. Hence need to be broken up.

As you point out, anyone can opt out of using Google, Walmart and the rest. If the same held true wrt the overreaches put in place and supposedly "authorized" by "democraciiii," democracy wouldn't necessarily be such a singularly civilization destroying tragedy either.

Blacklisted
Blacklisted

The platforms for the leading Democrats involves higher taxes on income, wealth, and anything that moves or not. A wealth tax involves proving you are under the threshold, which means documenting every asset you hold. Of course the threshold will continuously decline as pensions require ever more blood from the taxpayer.

Google, FB, and other tech companies have been in bed with govt to find and help collect taxes, which will continue to drive capital off the grid, and eventually out of the country. The its purchase of the Washington Post, Amazon is a leading propagandist that is selling the lies (i.e. gloBull warming) that are keeping people clueless. They are all causing more harm than good. When the economy implodes from govt largess, what good are these companies to Americans?

KidHorn
KidHorn

The democratic tactic is as old as time. Find an injustice, inform the populace it's not their fault, and find someone to blame. Of course, the accuser is the one who will stand up to the evil. Just put them in power and the problem will be solved. Same thing Hitler did with the Jews.

ML1
ML1

Google is a threat to democracy, they could swing elections just by deciding to only post negative news on search results for certain politicians (happened to Trump in 2016), They could remove unflattering search suggestions despite people searching for them (happened to Hillary Clinton in 2016), they could label news or youtube videos they do not like misinformation (happening right now).

Google is just too large and they should be split up in different companies (they tried to prevent this by rebranding as Alphabet to create the illusion it is all separate).

There should be different companies as follows (google search, google adsense+doubleclick, youtube, android, tech division (phones, their surveillance box helper, cars) , their travel division etc.)

ML1
ML1

Also Facebook should be regulated in how they monetize people's information and Facebook should be split in three: Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp should all be separate companies.

DFWRealEstate
DFWRealEstate

Sorry Mish, but this is a perfect instance where the Libertarian argument of free markets and self-regulation falls flat on its face. Competition is any thing but "intense" with these companies, largely because the dominant players control the markets and the conversation in Congress via their ability to purchase favorable legislation. Corporations will NEVER self-regulate, because it's counter to their DNA, profit motive. Any small business owner who's had to deal with Google's overseas call center (aka revolving Adwords infomercial) knows what I'm talking about. These companies are way past the point of just being monopolistic and anti-competitive. They should have been broken up years ago.

Webej
Webej

Whether they are virtual monopolies is only [1] one part of the discussion. These companies are treated by law as [2] platforms instead of publishers, but at the same time, they are making editorial decisions all the time about content. A level-playing field would make sure they are treated as publishers, responsible for the content. Another aspect is the ubiquitous [3] spying and lying about what they are doing with all their surveillance -- and whether they have a blanket stay out of jail free card because of their economic clout.

By the way, if there are only 3 competitors, studies show that market arrangements occur by explicit or implicit collusion. You need a far bigger field to ensure real competition.

pi314
pi314

What happens to Mish? If the U.S. govt controls as much information as Google/FB, he will be howling nonstop. But it is okay with him if private corporations track his every move, spending, and social life.

JohnH
JohnH

These Tech Giants censor information on the web - that's a bad thing.

Carl_R
Carl_R

It's a great irony to me that traditionally it was liberals who opposed monopolies and wanted to break them up, while conservatives weren't particularly interested in seeing that happen. The lesson here is clear: People want what they think is in their own self interest, and political ideology is secondary to pragmatism.

themonosynaptic
themonosynaptic

This is a tale as old as me ... at least.

It used to be Newspapers were monopolizing news and advertising. Then it was TV. Now it is online search and social media. In ten years time it will be something else.

Six000mileyear
Six000mileyear

The subject of breaking up monopolies is a bear market event. The fact the subject is making headlines so soon after a market top (time and pointwise) means the bear market is going to be severe.

Rebellious
Rebellious

Tell me Mish how would we prevent the alphabet soup agencies including the social media silicon valley globalist - one side of the opinion fits all gang of 5 (MS, Google, FB, Twitter, Apple) and the payment maffia PayPayl, Patreon etc. from intervening or stiffling competition. The Patreon debacle on "rightwing" speech must not have gone unnoticed by you or has it?

PayPal putting pressure on Patreon to deplatform a fairly run of the milk "right wing" (whatever that means, Carl Benjamin is IMHO still more of social democrat than a "true grit" Hans Hermann Hoppe "rightwing" Pinochet Libertarian like myself how would we prevent this ?

You can say... "well why do'nt you start your own social media platform" ... that is not easy these days at all." You will need to receive funding and if the corporatists have there way, you will not receive any funding and by collecting funds going door to door is no real viable option.

So give us your view on how to other than just... "well you can start your own facebook" .

Yours sincerely

Anthony

Cecil1
Cecil1

If the ideal corporate tax rate is zero, then why isn't the ideal income tax rate ZERO.

YOu know, for the people who actually work and produce???